Written by Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Curnow | Art by Ken Garing, Michael Dialynas, Ronda Pattison
A new age begins for the TMNT. The epic events of the past have created new opportunities for the future and new dangers. Will the Family stay united in the face of a devastating new foe?
Well with how the 50th issue ended, with Shredder dying and Splinter taking his place as leader of the Foot Clan, it wasn’t surprising to guess that the following instalments would explore the power vacuum that the former’s death had created and a transitional phase of the series. This is all extremely interesting as we get to see the points of view of various characters, including characters we already know and new ones that are introduced in this run of issues between #51 to #55.
So firstly we get to see what is happening with Splinter, Leo, Raph and Donny, with the latter three performing a joint mission with the Foot, taking down what looks to be an organised-crime operation. But things are not as they seem as the heroes soon find themselves attacked by a new threat called ’The Street Phantoms’, who not only have an unfair advantage in battle, but also a connection to Harold (finally fleshing out his character a little more).
But even though the three brothers are now working alongside the very force that was once their enemy, we see that none of them are entirely comfortable with the new situation that they find their family in (but as expected, Leo continues to follow orders, Raph just wants something to hit and Donny buries himself in his Tech-work).
Even Splinter feels the weight of the world on his shoulders as he is now more confused with how things are transpiring, since pursuing the Shredder’s destruction for so long and wanting his Sons safety guaranteed and justice for the blood-feud that began centuries before, things are still not that much better. But it doesn’t help that he has to watch his back as Kitsune is still in their company, quietly preparing her own endgame with Alopex (who figures this out, but finds herself unable to resist) and even members of the Foot themselves are questioning the motives of their new leader (which gives us a great scene where the traitor attempts to kill Splinter, only for him to properly convince her that she is wrong).
Meanwhile, Mikey is fighting crime on his own (even using his grapple-hook as a weapon – which is a callback to the original cartoon where he stopped using his Nunchucks from season 4 to season 10) as he tries to figure out what his path should be, as he does not agree with what his Father had decided in accepting his rise to leadership of the Foot-Clan.
But Mikey is not alone for long as he joins the Mutanimals, where we get to see old favorites like Slash, Old Hob and Pigeon Pete (my personal favorite) as well as characters who were introduced in the group’s spin-off series. But even though the youngest of the TMNT begins to feel at home with his friends, he still misses his family and continues to distrust Old Hob. And this distrust is well placed as the Cat is revealed to be in an alliance with Hun and that revelation leaves the Mutanimals future as a group in jeopardy by this Volume’s end.
There are other story-lines such as April and Casey’s relationship hitting the rocks as she continues to try and get him back into school, as well as a secret Government task-force spying on the Mutants living in New York and all of it is interesting to watch and unfold, though not as much as the plot-lines I mentioned above.
Waltz, Eastman and Curnow continue to impress as they show us a world that is now without fan-favorites Shredder and Krang (though I doubt we have seen the last of either of them, even though the former is currently dead since even in the original comic, Oroku Saki managed to come back from the dead), giving us new foes and situations to test our Heroes and their allies and I look forward to seeing where they will take us next in this ongoing story. Once again, virtually all the characters get moments to shine whether it is Leo commanding the Foot-Clan or Raph giving Casey advice (that was a surprise) or even Pigeon Pete making an almost edible Pizza. This series continues to surprise and entertain with quality writing, which is not a something you tend to see in a series passing 50 issues.
The artwork this time is more of a mixed bag, since we do not have either Mateus Santolouco or Corey Smith around (yeah it is possible that they have spoilt us by having their quality work for such a long time in this TMNT iteration, but it shows when we end up missing their panels during a run of issues like this) and Ken Garing’s work in the first two issues of this Volume is more like what we got back in the first original issues back at the beginning of this series, the quality does get much better with the other three as Michael Dialynas takes over. His panels are more in line with both Santolouco and Smith which is helped by Ronda Pattison’s colouring’s, which brings them to life in a way that is more familiar to those of us that enjoyed their predecessors work in the past.
Overall this was a great start to this new era of TMNT, giving us that continued successful blend of drama, suspense, humor and action that we have grown accustomed to with IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I cannot wait for the next volume.